This is a picture of a candle, with a burnt wick. Nothing to see here, right?
But sometimes it’s the little things that can make a difference.
I feel I’m an old hand at de-cluttering now. Clearing out clothes was fine – in fact, very liberating. I thought books would be hard and they were for a while – till I started applying the same principles I used for my clothes . Clearing out papers was a relief. But sentimental items? Ouch!
But here’s a funny thing – when I started to look at the sentimental items I had stored, I found that very few memories were good. I was holding on to many things that made me feel sad, guilty and even angry. And every time I looked at them, those feelings were stirred up again. What was the point in keeping things that upset me?
One day, I took a deep breath and sorted through letters, cards, mementoes and keepsakes. I didn’t let go of everything, I kept the ones that sparked joy and love. And the relief when I had finished! I literally felt a weight come off me.
However, I came across one particular item …. it was a sentimental one …. it was also a gift …. On the face of it, it’s nothing special. It’s a candle. But it’s the last gift my mother ever gave me before she died. That’s not a candle for burning. So, I put it back in the box.
A few months later, I read a post from the Change Agent. She was writing about de-cluttering her house and she used a phrase that really spoke to me. She said she didn’t want to clear out some stuff as holding onto it would ‘keep people I have lost alive’. I commented on the post and on this line in particular, which made me reflect some more.
Was I really saying that if I burnt the candle, it would destroy memories of my mum? Of course not. The Minimalists write about how our memories are inside of us, not inside of our possessions. It’s so easy to confuse the two – to feel you are betraying a memory by discarding a thing. But letting go of a thing is not letting go of a person, or even a memory.
So, what’s better? To replace the candle in a dark box, unused and unseen? Or to light it and look on it with gratitude and love?
I lit the candle. I think the warm glow I felt wasn’t just from its light. Have a great week 😊